02 August 2017

Germany And Its Allies Can't Handle The Truth

Germany's Angela Merkel has clearly had it with U.S. President Donald Trump, saying this recently that Europe must fight for its own "future and destiny" after several days of contentious meetings with her American counterpart.

For patriotic Americans, this is good news.

President Trump has already shot back, decrying Germany's trade surplus with the U.S. and its relatively small defense budget.

Also good. And there are a lot of reasons why.

First off, liberals will hate to admit this, but Merkel's got a point. But it's not for the reasons she'd like the world to believe. President Trump and his take on global priorities are indeed a major threat, but to the European political class and not to Europe itself. Because the Trump message runs in direct opposition to two key narratives Europe's current top leaders need, or at least they think they need, to stay in power.

The first key contrast is on the issue of defense. President Trump's insistent and repeated call for Europe to spend more on its own defense and in contributions to NATO caused the most immediate uproar during the NATO and G-7 summit meetings.

And anybody with a brain can see why. The biggest challenge to the established political leaders in Europe is defense-related. The spate of terrorist attacks and other disturbing incidents inspired by radical Islamism have left more and more voters disenchanted with their level of domestic safety.

This is all heavily connected to the E.U.'s open border policies and the overall war on ISIS that the E.U. is widely , (but not completely), sitting out. It was that disenchantment that pushed the Brexit vote last year and gave Marine Le Pen, a formerly fringe candidate at the head of a fringe party, a stunning second place finish in France's presidential election earlier this month.

The numbers don't lie. While the U.S. spends more than 3 percent of its massive GDP on defense, Germany barely spends more than 1 percent according to the most recent data from the World Bank. France spends just about 2 percent, and the U.K.'s defense spending is under 2 percent of its GDP. And when you consider the fact that the U.S. has a much larger economy than any of those three European powers, the difference in real dollar amounts is huge.

No one likes to be publicly called a cheap skate, but Europe's defense austerity has political roots that stretch way beyond and deeper than the war on terror. The fact is that Western Europe's extensive and elaborate welfare state relies heavily on not having to foot major defense costs.

Whether its socialized medicine, hefty unemployment stipends, or guaranteed housing, the European budget simply can't afford to pay for all of those things and boost its defense spending at the same time.

As it is, even without the defense spending boost President Trump wants, that welfare state is already starting to collapse. Britain's National Health Service, just as one example, is floating the idea of asking patients to pony up extra cash to see a general practitioner. European governments have suddenly woken up to the fact that they need to literally breed more native born taxpaying productive citizens to cover their domestic costs. There's even a push in some countries to give married couples more time off so they procreate.

Now President Trump comes along and starts talking about defense. And it comes at the worst time as more and more Europeans are calling for better protection. In other words, the Trump push is shining a light on just how much Europe has been robbing Peter to pay Paul. And Merkel et al hate it.